‘Ancient megalithic builders’ did a marvellous job in creating enormous structures. They used the most simple and common natural resource available to them on earth: stone. Their ‘brand’: using huge asymmetric stones and complex joints. Their structures could withstand at least most earthquakes and time. Even today we are not sure on how these builders created them. Examples still can be seen in Peru and Egypt. Current technology cannot easily take them apart; but then again: we don’t want to (historic value).
Mankind has used stones and bricks for building purposes for over thousands of years. Each time one element is stacked onto another (by hand or by a tool). Nowadays when a structure’s function is no longer wanted, the structure is taken apart.
Lesser problem: Construction changing costs
The taking apart of constructions (be them buildings, roads, etc.):
- is accompanied with huge costs,
- takes a long time,
- is wasting resources and
- is not efficient.
Imagine for example the number of physical transports which take place at the end and start of a building lifecycle. First a building is being stripped and gets demolished. Rubble is being transported away to clean up the building site. Building engineers and constructors start ordering the new building materials and start building a newly designed building. Frequent transports occur: to and from the building site, at the building site and between factories (semi-finished products).
Ultimately these actions result in costs and these costs find their way into the costs of the new building. And remember: these costs were only a glimpse of transport related costs. Actually there are a lot more: energy costs, material transformation costs, labor costs or to be brief: too many to list here.
Bigger problem: Earth’s resources
Life impacting words out of a dictionary:
- ‘resources’: sources of aid or support that may be drawn upon when need.
- ‘habitat’: the area or natural environment in which an organism or population normally lives.
- ‘civilization’: an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, and government has been reached.
Besides the lesser problem another one arises for every construction size at the same time. In the long run it’s the bigger problem: the increasing scarcity of resources. Resources are fixed in amount and are bounded to the closed-system called ‘earth’ (so far). Either we mine mineral resources or we recycle existing products. Recycling means to extract mineral resources needed out of those ‘old products’. Resources also include life such as the plant or animal kingdoms. Our current frontier is earth and (resource) exploration of our strange world should continue. It requires us to take into account earth’s habitats. Maintaining or improving the sustainability of life in existing ones is a must. This also holds true when new habitats are created, for example new cities in rural areas. We need to rethink our future. How to help our earth to continue to provide means for living.
Other related problems are access to materials or to food (localisation problem of resources). The BBC-documentary ‘How many people can live on planet earth’, hosted by Sir David Attenborough, makes this clear in view of a growing world population.